Many years ago now, after commissioning a survey of horseplayers and discussing and scouring the economic research, we saw and heard horseplayers wanted bigger fields, lower takeout, and better betting races. Not long after, the very first Racetrack Ratings were developed. The criteria of what makes a good racetrack? Exactly what you and the literature told us.
We worked on the racetrack ratings in the first place for a number of reasons. Horseplayers, we felt, needed a resource for takeout rates, field size, handle size etc - the information on the web, in programs and racing forms were woefully outdated, and wrong - to make better betting decisions. We also thought that tracks might take notice of them, and see if they could improve their product, jump up in the rankings, and in the process, give us a better product to bet. After all, if we bet more money on a better product, doesn't everyone win? Especially long term?
Over the years we have heard from some executives that were paying attention to their rankings and where they fit in the betting landscape. Often times we have heard them say "we are going to try and improve." People like John Marshall at Calder and Corey Johnson at Kentucky Downs were two such fine folks. I think we might have to add Tim Ritvo to the list.
Today at The Racing Biz, Mr. Ritvo expressed his thoughts on rejuvinating Maryland's racetracks, particularly Laurel.
“Eventually, real soon, you will see a reduction in takeout in Maryland,
which isn’t hard to do because, basically, we’re about 45th on the
[takeout] list and I want to get in the top 15,” he says. “So I’ll
look at those numbers and see what we need to do to get there. If I’m
in the mix of the top 15, then I’m asking [bettors] to look at my
It's all we ask as customers. Make an effort. How can your track card better betting races. Can your track lower takeout, increasing payouts, where bettors are encouraged to come back, bet more and enjoy themselves more than they used to? Can your track offer their signal to ADW's so we don't need three accounts to give you our money?
Mr. Ritvo seems to be asking those questions. He seems to want us to look at the Maryland racing product again. He's asking for our business. If he succeeds and gives us a chance, we should all give Maryland racing a look once again.